The Definitive Dwiggins no. 39—The Cambridge City Bakery

"The Staff of Life" advertisement for The Cambridge City Bakery. From Goudy by D.J.R. Bruckner (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publisher, 1992). p.

“The Staff of Life” advertisement for The Cambridge City Bakery. From Frederic Goudy by D.J.R. Bruckner (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publisher, 1990), p.48.

In his biography of Frederic W. Goudy, D.J.R. Bruckner shows the above image on p. 48 with the caption, “Advertisement for the [sic] Cambridge City Bakery designed by Goudy. This claim, for which Bruckner provides no documentation, has bothered me ever since the book was published. How did Goudy come to design the advertisement and when did he do it?

I think the answer is that it is not Goudy’s work at all, but the work of W.A. Dwiggins, his former pupil at the Frank Holme School of Illustration. The Cambridge City Bakery, owned by by John L. Bruner, was located at 839 Wheeling Avenue in Cambridge, Ohio. As far as I know, Goudy never set foot in Cambridge and thus it seems very unlikely that he would have been asked to design an advertisement for a local business. The possibility that he did it via Dwiggins also seems remote since the bakery was established several years after Dwiggins left Chicago (and the studio he shared with Goudy) to return home to Cambridge. Finally, the lettering does not look Goudy-ish, a view shared by the Goudy expert Steve Matteson.

Following their first—and only—trip to Europe in the spring of 1908, Dwiggins and his wife Mabel traveled to Cambridge, Ohio to see their families. He arrived on July 3 with Mabel having preceded him by a few days. They had planned to stay only through the month, but unspecified family difficulties kept them there until September 1. The extended stay wore on Dwiggins who found Cambridge (and its inhabitants) dull compared to Boston. During July and August, he wrote several letters to the printer Daniel Berkeley Updike, who had helped arrange his European trip, detailing his situation. He especially found it strange to go from Siena to Ohio in such a short time.

In that same letter, written on August 13, Dwiggins said, “I have had absolutely nothing to do in the way of commissions except such gratis things as I could force on the local news-paper in the way of headings, etc.” This was a reference to a spate of work he did in 1908 for The Jeffersonian, the local Democratic newspaper owned by the father of his high school classmate Frank B. Amos. At that time Amos was the newspaper’s Assistant Advertising and Circulation Manager. Presumably, it was his idea to keep Dwiggins busy while in Cambridge with some work for both the newspaper and local businesses. Such work also provided Dwiggins with much-needed money following his European trip.

Advertisement for Want Ads in The Jeffersonian newspaper. Lettering and design by W.A. Dwiggins, 1908.

Advertisement for Want Ads in The Jeffersonian newspaper. Lettering and design by W.A. Dwiggins, 1908.

Eight years ago, through a microfilm search of The Daily Jeffersonian and The Weekly Jeffersonian I identified six designs for newspaper columns (e.g. Court House News) that Dwiggins lettered as well as advertisements for The Jeffersonian itself, the Brenan and Wilson drugstore, the Temple Bookstore, and The Cambridge City Bakery. For the latter he made at least three different designs, one of which (see below) was subsequently published in The Printing Art (February 1909). Although I did not see  ”The Staff of Life” advertisement shown above, I believe that Dwiggins’ other work for The Cambridge City Bakery is the final piece of evidence in favor of him as the author of it rather than Goudy.

The Printing Art. Advertisements lettered and designed by W.A. Dwiggins.

“Representative Advertising Forms—VIII” from The Printing Art, vol. XII, no. 6 (Februaru 1909). Advertisements lettered and designed by W.A. Dwiggins.

NOTE: The advertisement for The Hanley Milling Company (shown above in The Printing Art) was presumably made at the same time as the one for The Cambridge City Bakery, but I have yet to learn anything more about it. Coshocton is located about 30 miles northwest of Cambridge, Ohio. The Hanley Mill, which began as a partnership between Thomas J. Hanley and Samuel Ferguson in 1891, was destroyed by a fire in 1941.